Today’s Guest Blogger is my very good friend and coffee buddy Karen from The Rubbish Diet one of the most creative women I know. I spotted on Facebook that she had made some fabulous looking Christmas oranges and I thought you’d all like to see them. So over to Karen…
If you’re as unskilled with the sewing needle as me, don’t lose heart this Christmas, as it is still possible to add your own special and home-made touch to your festive decorations with something as simple as an orange. If you like the natural look, a pack of just five orange slices can set you back at a rate of £1 a shot, so it makes economic sense to make your own. Besides, they’re really fun, make excellent presents and fill the home with festive scents too. You don’t need any special equipment, just an oven set on a low heat will do.
Preheat oven to a low setting, e.g . 100C.
Using a sharp knife, cut across the orange to create slices that are around 5mm thick.
Press the slices with kitchen paper or an old tea towel to soak away excess orange juice and arrange the slices on a non stick baking tray. Use baking parchment if necessary.
Bake in the oven for a couple of hours (turning over the slices half-way) then transfer to an airing cupboard overnight when the slices are dry to the touch. This simply saves energy. If you don’t have an airing cupboard, just keep baking for an extra hour or two, checking and turning the slices every half hour.
When the oranges slices are dry, they will be almost translucent and will look gorgeous set again the tree lights. Simply poke a hole through the top with a skewer and use ribbon to hang them onto your Christmas tree. They also look gorgeous when added to wreaths.
Alternatively create a citrus bauble, by arranging the slices to form the shape of an orange, smallest slices at each end, with the largest in the middle. Thread a length of ribbon through the centre of the slices, creating a loop at the top and tying the ribbon at the bottom to secure the slices. Cut away the excess ribbon and you’ll have another beautiful decoration with which to grace the tree.
A few things to consider:
Keep costs down by buying your fruit from the market. However, seek out fair-trade where possible.
For smaller decorations, try satsumas and clementines, which work out even cheaper or try lemons and limes if you prefer an alternative colour scheme.
Use natural, compostable materials such as raffia or string for hanging and threading the decorations. This way the whole of the decoration can be composted when Christmas is over.
Some people recommend using a spray fixative to help the decorations last the season. However, I find that if the slices are dried properly using the instructions above and are not damp to the touch, they will last through December and into the new year.
Children love getting involved with these simple decorations, especially laying out the slices on the baking tray and threading them once they are dry. Another easy activity to try with the kids is to get them to decorate small fruits with cloves. Again, pop in the oven for a couple of hours to dry. They’ll also look fabulous on the tree, while keeping sticky fingers at bay.